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Report: Employers Hiring Fewer College Graduates in 2018

Across Ohio, colleges and universities are celebrating their spring commencements this month, with some like Ohio State University celebrating the largest graduating classes in their history, but a report from the non-profit National Association of Colleges and Employers shows both private and public sector employers expect to hire fewer graduates this year.

“The employers said they plan to decrease their hiring by just 1.3 percent,” NACE Research Manager Andrea Koncz reported.

While it might not sound like a huge dip, Koncz said it’s notable because the last time the report found a decrease in projected hires was 2010-- the middle of the nation’s largest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

The 2018 Jobs Outlook from NACE attributes the decline to two industries in particular: the retail sector, which has experienced large sales decreases in back-to-back months of 2018, and the insurance industry, which has had massive payouts in the past year due to hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires across the country.

The survey also showed international students graduating in the class of 2018 are far less likely to get hired in the U.S.

“The percentage of respondents who are hiring international students is down to around 20 percent,” Koncz said, compared to a high of nearly 35 percent in 2015.

While the Jobs Outlook didn’t specifically ask employers why they were hiring fewer international students, Koncz said in the country’s current political climate, it can be more difficult to acquire work permits and other visas for graduates.

International students make up about 23 percent of the enrollment in Ohio’s graduate programs, but the number of students applying for visas to attend U.S. schools has also declined since 2016.

Respondents to the 2018 Jobs Outlook include some of the nation’s largest employers, including Johnson & Johnson, GE Appliances, Edward Jones, and Chevron.

Respondent companies with ties to Ohio include Lincoln Electric and the Federal Reserve of Cleveland.

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Ashton Marra covers the Capitol for West Virginia Public Radio and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, the station’s daily radio news program. Ashton can also be heard Sunday evenings as she brings you state headlines during NPR’s weekend edition of All Things Considered. She joined the news team in October of 2012.